The definition of a good Halloween movie differs from one individual to another. For some, it may be watching Hotel Transylvania with their family. There are also others who would binge all the Scream movies, at a party (just like in Scream) and talk about slashers. There are some people who just want to be scared shitless in a dark room where the only source of light is the blue light from the TV screen à la Poltergeist poster style. In this article, I’ve compiled a list of what I might be watching this Halloween.
If you’re in the mood for Halloween classics, a couple of names that you might be thinking of would be the Halloween movie series, Scream movie series, Nightmare on Elm Street series, Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, Chucky, Scary Movie, The Thing, American Horror Story, etc. The Addams Family movies (1991 and 1995 versions of course, what else were you going to watch?) are also something that comes to mind as family friendly stuff, with Beetlejuice, or Scooby Doo. However, it might do you some good to consider these titles for this year’s binge. Get your popcorn ready, folks!
For the movie buffs, it is one of the most interesting and trope subverting films that came out around the 2010s or so when mainstream horror were mere remakes of Halloween, Friday The 13th, the US version of The Grudge 3. For more context, it was that time when Jennifer’s Body was marketed wrongly. Trick or Treat tells the story of a single Halloween night, jumping from one group to another and it’s probably the most clever horror anthology movie I’ve watched.
2. Scream Queens
Scream Queens is a series from the amazing Ryan Murphy and if you know Ryan Murphy, he just can’t seem to disappoint. Scream Queens is probably the best modern slasher/camp TV series out of this past decade. Setting certain misconceptions aside, yes we do follow a bunch of white girls and stupid things that only rich and bored people would tend to do, but the ensemble cast just keeps you hooked and you just can’t stop watching!
3. The Evil Dead Series
The Evil Dead Series is probably one of the most famous cult classics of the horror gore genre. They have an isolated cabin in the woods, demons and an old book that brings back the dead and a charming asshat as our protagonist. The Evil Dead series is a must watch for those who lean more towards horror comedy. Although the first film was not intended to be, the series is best known for its ridiculous slapstick jokes. Also, let’s not forget about the TV series Ash VS Evil Dead!
4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a classic in the western hemisphere, but almost unknown in Asia and I somehow find it a disgrace. The word to summarize this film is “camp”, it is the embodiment of camp itself. In Asia, some people might find it controversial but if you are into a more ‘out of the box’, gay or just have a taste for campy things, this film is probably your calling.
5. The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone is an anthology television series from 1959 and that single fact itself, might horrify some of you from the younger generations. Those who are not frightened yet by the different aspect ratios and resolutions will thank me for this timeless gem. The old television look the show exudes, only adds to the aesthetics and enhances the experience. It’s a gold mine for aspiring writers. It has everything, ranging from fantasy to sci-fi, dystopian to horror, and elements of psychological horror. It has recently been revived with Jordan Peele as the host and producer of the show, and it’s not too bad. However, I do recommend you watch the original as well.
Creep is found footage horror from 2014 and while I usually stray away from them because I always get dizzy, this one here is something else. It’s about a photographer who accepts a job at a remote cabin to record a video diary for Josef (the client)‘s unborn child. Mark Duplass is incredibly creepy. He just makes you feel uneasy and you just know something is wrong. The premise can be quite predictable to those who have watched their fair share of horror movies, but this is a film to be experienced.
7. The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Back in 2016, my friends and I stumbled upon The Autopsy of Jane Doe while browsing online, thinking it wouldn’t be that scary and might just be gory horror, we (the more scaredy cats of the group) played it without a second thought as to avoid scarier looking titles. Boy were we dead wrong. If you spoil yourself, you will find the premise rather predictable unlike us sitting silently, back sticking to the wall, hoping there was nothing scary or eerie in the background of every shot. I had never been so tense during a horror movie ever.
When it comes to Japanese Horror, a name that comes up frequently is Audition and it is a must watch. If you want to delve into more Japanese psychological horror movies, Creepy comes to mind. When I saw that it was going to be shown in my city for a film festival, I dropped everything and dragged my friends to see the movie. If you are familiar with the Japanese entertainment industry, the cast line up would make you drool. The film did not disappoint, it was a slow burn thriller that just gets better and better over time.
9. As the Gods Will
Kamisama-no-Iutoori or As the Gods Will is a manga which both my sister and I read, almost religiously. We loved the horror gory element, the psychological tortures the victims had to go through and the absurd mystery behind the chain of events. When the live action was announced, I was excited to see if it was going to be ruined by the medium change, but best boy Kamiki Ryuunosuke was cast as Amaya Takeru and I had to be less cynical. While I was right about the film being just an acceptable fun time, as usual, Kamiki Ryuunosuke didn’t disappoint (despite being a bit of a miscast for Amaya) and this time, the CGI also didn’t disappoint which is surprising for a Japanese live adaptation of mangas. I would give a rating of 8 out of 10 and would rewatch it this Halloween, just for best boy.
10. Too Young To Die
Too Young To Die is another film with best boy Ryuunosuke as main character, this time with best boy from the previous generation, Nagase Tomoya. It is written and directed by Kudo Kankuro, probably one of the best screenwriters for Japanese TV and films today. Kamiki Ryuunosuke plays Daisuke, a 17-year-old who arrives in hell after a fatal accident, and under the training of Killer K (Nagase Tomoya), he reincarnates over and over again in order to confess to his crush. It’s crazy fun, absurd and has a killer soundtrack. If you like this and want a more serious take on Japanese Hell, Jigoku or The Sinners of Hell (1960) is the go-to film.
11. The Bridge Curse
The Bridge Curse is a fairly new Taiwanese film I watched with my friends online recently and it was surprisingly pretty good. It does remind me of movies that try to scare you more than telling the story in terms of scares, but they were well crafted and creative, and they do get you. I will now avoid public bathrooms at night at all costs.
12. A Tale of Two Sisters
A Tale of Two Sisters is a 2003 Korean film about Su-mi who comes back from her time at a hospital to her twin sister, father and step-mother. Trouble persists and eventually things escalate. With Korean Horror, it is best when not much is said. There is a twist in the story that catches you off guard and is a classic of Korean Horror.
Bedevilled was a film I was too young to watch and thus too young to understand, but the horror of being a woman is universal and even then I knew this wasn’t far from the realities in my own country. Hye Won visits the island she spent her childhood in and reunites with her childhood friend, Bok Nam. Fans of Korean Horror shouldn’t miss this film.
That’s the end of the list! So, what will you be watching this Halloween season? Also, have you noticed I dropped a lot of movie/franchise names along the article? (cause there is too much good stuff to watch!) Do you have a favourite Halloween movie or series? If yes, then do leave a comment below.
By Julia Sam